6. 9. THE PARISIAN ARCADE: THE EMERY ARCADE

Continuing with the “Paris of America” analogy, Cincinnati also erected a two-story Parisian arcade in 1877.  While Music Hall was under construction, two more of the city’s civic benefactors, brothers Thomas J. and John J. Emery, sons of Cincinnati millionaire Thomas J. Emery, Sr., were erecting the Emery Hotel on the entire block along the southside of Fifth Street that ran from Vine to Race Street, directly across from Fountain Square. 

Emery Hotel and Arcade, Cincinnati, 1877. (Online)

Within the hotel ran a two-storied, glass-covered arcade, the first such building erected in the U.S for almost 50 years.  The first such arcade erected in the U.S., the Westminster Arcade, had been erected in Providence, RI, in 1828.  (Another antebellum arcade was reported to have been built in Rochester, NY, but I can find no other evidence to support this claim.)  Actually, as I reviewed in Volume One, Chicago had planned to make this claim with its “City of Paris” arcade, that was adjacent to the new Bigelow House, and opened onto Adams Street.  Unfortunately, the 1871 fire had destroyed both structures.

John K. Winchell, The Bigelow House and Stein’s “City of Paris” Arcade (at the far right), the southwest corner of Dearborn and Adams, 1870. (The Land Owner, July 1870)

The Emery Arcade was a two story, 40’ high glass-roofed passage that offered a sheltered passage through the entire block from Fountain Square to Race Street.  It was attached to the Hotel and contained shops and restaurants, with gaslights hanging from the ridge beam providing a pleasant urban space through all hours of the night. (In 1929 the hotel and arcade were demolished and replaced with the Carew Tower. The arcade’s space was retained in the design of a new arcade that still survives.)

Emery Arcade, Interior passage, 1877-1929. (Online)

(If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to eMail me at: thearchitectureprofessor@gmail.com)

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